“Where there’s a mist in the pulpit, there’s a fog in the pew.” Howard Hendricks (The late Dallas Seminary Professor)

“And if the bugler doesn’t sound a clear call, how will the soldiers know they are being called to battle.” (1 Corinthians 14:8 NLT)

Having clarity can be the difference between success and failure

I’m thinking of those famous lines from the movie “A Few Good Men.” 

“Are we clear?” (Jack Nicholson to Tom Cruise)

“Crystal” (Cruise to Nicholson)

At an Acts 29 church planting conference a while back, one of the planters whom I coach came back with new enthusiasm. I asked him what some of his key take-aways were from the time with these church planters and their wives.

He said that if he had to sum it up in one word it would be the word:


That immediately resonated with me and I began to reflect on the need for clarity across the board in leadership.

If I am unclear about some foundational issues and ideas, then how can there be clarity for others? I believe Howard Hendricks was right.  If it’s a little unclear for the leader(s), it will be very unclear for the rest of the people.

In the military the bugle sounds at different times for the troops:

  1. When they wake up
  2. When they lie down
  3. When there is a funeral
  4. When they go into battle

It’s obviously critical that the right music is played at the right time to avoid confusion as to what’s to be done!

I am still thinking and processing the need for “Clarity.” Here are a few things so far:

  1. Clarity on who Jesus Christ is
  2. Clarity on what he has done on the cross and through his resurrection
  3. Clarity on the validity and trustworthiness of the Bible
  4. Clarity on my calling, vision and gifting
  5. Clarity on where the organization/church/group is going
  6. Clarity on what the most important things are that we need to be working on this week/month/quarter/year

Now, there are some things (perhaps lots of things) that we may not yet have clarity on, as 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT) says: “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.”

I do believe, however, that we should strive for clarity, teach with clarity and lead with clarity where we are able to so as to lead the troops effectively into battle for the honor and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What are some things that come to your mind as a leader that you and those traveling with you could profit immensely from by having greater clarity? Start with my short list above, and go from there.